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  The information found her is a rough guide intended for newcomers to the sport. Please accept minor discrepancies that may be a result of different governing bodies, however, if you spot anything that is clearly incorrect, or something we have omitted, please let us know.

The Beginning - the origin of Judo

Learning Curve - what you can expect if you take up Judo

Etiquette - expected standards

Contest Judo Fighting - a guide to contest fighting

Scoring - how contests are scored

Glossary - Japanese words and English terminology
(Words written in this colour can be found in the glossary)

What is Judo?

 

The Beginning

Judo was derived from a martial art called Ju Jitsu (also jiu jutsu or similar). Ju Jitsu is an art that involves too many physically damaging techniques to become a healthy fighting sport - therefore, our founder - Jigoro Kano took the main grappling aspects from Jitsu, made them much safer, and in 1882 formed the Kodokan Judo Institute.

Jigoro Kano
Jigoro Kano 1860 - 1938

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Learning Curve


The first thing to learn if you are new to Judo, is how to fall. Although it is practiced on mats, being thrown can be very dangerous. To land safely, judoka use ukemi (breakfalls). These are techniques that need to be learned, and as they rely on good coordination and timing, must be practiced regularly.

The next step is to be shown several throws and hold downs. The first throw will probably be a basic throw over the hip (ogoshi) that will demonstrate the main principles of a throw - including supporting your opponent. The hold down will show the basic methods of keeping someone pinned - where to concentrate your bodyweight and how to move with an opponent.

Once these first few steps have been learned and understood, light competition can begin. Light contest is the best way to ensure that the techniques have been taken in properly - and is the only way to get them right. From this point Judo is all about practice and learning new things, skills will now just keep getting sharper. No-one will ever learn everything there is to know about Judo - there will always be new things to try.

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Etiquette


What most find a very good side of Judo is the standard of etiquette. Experienced judoka usually display the mannerisms and courtesy of the art in everyday life. Different clubs display different levels of etiquette, however, respect for instructors and other judoka should never be compromised.

Bowing (rei wo suru) A standing bow should be performed with the ankles together and the hands at the side, or flat against the front of the thigh (where they can be seen). During a bow the head must not be tilted back, it should stay in line with the back or be dipped lower - you should not be watching your opponent. A bow displays mutual trust and respect between people (not just Judoka).

A groundwork bow is the same, only the hands must start on the thighs and be placed flat on the mat, about knee width apart, pointing together at roughly forty-five degrees. During any bow, the hands remain in view at all times (traditionally to show that you are holding no weapons).

General rules of etiquette

An appropriate bow should be used:
On entering and leaving a dojo.
When stepping on or off the mat (tatami).
At the start and end of each training session.
Before and after any contest or training exercise.
When being presented with an award.

You should ask your sensei:
For permission to go on or off the mat.
To be excused from any exercise.

Footwear must be worn off the mat - usually zori or flip-flops in the dojo.

Footwear must not be worn on the mat.

Finger and toenails should be kept short.

Judogi should be kept clean.

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Contest Judo Fighting


There are no punches or kicks in contest Judo. Points are scored in several ways - throws, hold downs, armlocks, strangles and penalties. When a fight commences, the two players attempt to take hold (this itself is now becoming an art form) and grappling commences. At this point, a normal fight will involve attempted throws, footsweeps and occasionally armlocks and strangles.

As a result of a throw or attempted throw, the players may find themselves on their knees, the fight is allowed to continue in groundwork (Newaza). The aim of groundwork is to either pin your opponent on their back (a hold down), or to apply an armlock or strangle. Groundwork will only continue whilst one player has a clear advantage, or until one player gets back to their feet.

Some associations require the standing player to lift the other completely from the mat in order to halt groundwork
.

Contests last between three and five minutes, depending on age and sex, or until an ippon is scored.

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Scoring


These descriptions are general guidelines. There are more factors to be taken into account and definitions vary between associations.

Koka - 3 points
A knock-down throw in which the thrown player lands on his side.
A fifteen second hold down (five seconds for juniors).
A penalty judgment (shido) - for a single offense.

Yuko - 5 points
A throw in which the thrown player lands on one side of his back.
A twenty second hold down (ten seconds for juniors).
A second penalty judgment (chui).

Wazari - 7 points
A throw in which the thrown player lands almost flat on their back, or they landed cleanly after an interrupted (not continuous) throw.
A twenty-five second hold down (fifteen seconds for juniors).
A third penalty judgment (keikoku).

Ippon - 10 points
A continuous, clean throw in which the thrown players both shoulders and back touch the mat at the same time.
A thirty second hold down (twenty seconds for juniors).
Submission - from an armlock, strangle or retirement from injury.
Disqualification (hansoku) - for a fourth penalty judgment or serious breach of the rules.

Some associations do not consider the continuity of a throw - only the landing.

Sometimes, it is acceptable to land your opponent badly but still score highly by rolling them into a better position - provided that the action is continuous.

Winner

Although points are awarded for scores, they do not always decide the outcome of a contest. One yuko will win over three kokas. Points are used to decide in the event of a draw, and are used for rating a players performance.

An ippon score wins a contest outright. Similarly, a second wazari score from a player produces wazari-aweseti-ippon - another contest winning ten points score.

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Glossary


Japanese words

Chui - a five point penalty.
Dojo - the building or room where Judo is practiced.
Hajime - begin. Called at the start of a contest.
Hansoku - a disqualification.
Ippon - a ten points score (equivalent to knockout).
Judogi - the Judo suit (also gi).
Judoka - a practitioner of Judo.
Ju Jitsu - the martial art that Judo was derived from. Meaning soft art (ju - soft, jitsu - art).
Kansetsuwaza - armlocks (literal translation means the manipulation of joints).
Kata - demonstrative display of moves and techniques performed in a sequence. Also means 'shoulder' when used in naming techniques.
Keikoku - a seven point penalty.
Koka - a three points score.
Matte - stop. Called to end a contest.
Newaza - groundwork.
Ogoshi - major hip throw. Often the first throw to be learned by a judoka.
Rei wo suru or rei - bow.
Sensei - teacher. Respectful name for instructors.
Shido - a three point penalty.
Shimewaza - strangles.
Sonomama - freeze (often used to check safety or legality of techniques). Important to understand for safety reasons.
Soremade - time is up (that is all). Usually called by timekeepers, or instructors at the end of a session.
Tatami - the mat used for practice.
Ukemi - breakfalls. Literally means 'falling way'.
Wazari - a seven points score.
Wazari-aweseti-ippon - a ten points score resulting from a second wazari.
Yoshi - continue, carry on (called after an interruption in a contest).
Yuko - a five points score.
Zori - straw sandals used by judoka.

English words or terminology

Armlock - to apply pressure to a joint (usually the elbow) against its natural direction.
Breakfalls - the techniques used to land safely.
Footsweep - an action that sweeps an opponents feet in an attempt to make them fall.
Groundwork - the grappling that takes place when two players go to ground. Practiced from the knees.
Hold down - to pin an opponent. (To achieve a hold down, control must be gained of at least one arm, and at least one shoulder must be in contact with the mat.)
Penalties - these are scored against a player who breaches a rule (see shido, chui, keikoku and hansoku).
Sacrifice throw - a throw that involves a player dropping to their own back (or side) to execute.
Strangle - the art of blocking the supply of blood and/or air through the neck.
Support - the act of landing your opponent safely (usually involves keeping hold of an arm).

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